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Author: Subject: Obscure antiquated or household drugs
halogen
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Obscure antiquated or household drugs

Last year, I had attended fairly amusing presentation about drugs and discussion of them, and several strange things came up. So I wonder what are some more obscure, antiquated or household drugs?
By obscure i mean... obscure. By antiquated I mean ether and that sort of thing. And by household, I mean nutmeg and that sort of thing.
Just curious y'know?

F. de Lalande and M. Prud'homme showed that a mixture of boric oxide and sodium chloride is decomposed in a stream of dry air or oxygen at a red heat with the evolution of chlorine.
The_Davster
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Well mercurochrome, an organic compound of mercury was used for many years as a disinfectant much like iodine was.

evil_lurker
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I have a full old bottle of Grove's Chill Tonic sitting on top of my computer... that bottle is probably well over 60-70 years old...

Ingredients are:

Cinchonine
Cinchonidine
Reduced Iron
Sugar Syrup
Lemon Flavored
Vitus_Verdegast
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Chlorodyne, once highly popular in Victorian Britain as a pain-relieve medicine and against diarrhea amongst other things.

A recipe of a generic formulation of Chlorodyne proceeds as follows:
from Materia Medica by William Hale-White & A.H. Douthwaite, 21st edition (1932):

Tinctura Chloroformi et Morphinæ Composita intended to be an imitation of the proprietary medicine called chlorodyne.
Mix chloroform 75, tincture of capsicum 25, tincture of Indian hemp 100, oil of peppermint 2 and glycerin 250 with alcohol (20 per cent) 450. Dissolve morphine hydrochloride 10 in the mixture. Add to it diluted hydrocyanic acid 50 and enough alcohol (90 per cent) to make 1000. Strength. 1 millilitre contains chloroform 7.5 centimils; morphine hydrochloride 1 centigram; acidum hydrocyanicum dilutum 5 centimils. Dose 5 to 15 minims - 0.2 to 1ml

(taken from Wikipedia)

"It seems to allay pain and irritation in whatever organ, and from whatever cause"

Also, a friend of mine has a tube of "mercury ammonium ointment" against syphilis dating from the last days of WWII. It says "double strength" in big letters on the label.

Sic transit gloria mundi
BromicAcid
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They still sell mercurochrome at the local grocery store, my grandma swears by it. I found it there a few weeks ago after hearing that it had been banned.

[Edited on 6/30/2006 by BromicAcid]

Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
Elawr
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Once I helped a pharmacist friend clean up the inventory of an ancient drug store he had aquired. I was able to secure an amazing variety of pharmaceuticals dating back to the pre-FDA era of medical practice. There was a good supply of mercury compounds including red mercuric oxide and mercuric chloride (corrosive sublimate). This was used as a diuretic. Mercurous chloride (calomel) was used as a dermatological. I used some of my oxide to prepare metallic Hg to reduce some aqueous silver nitrate - made beautiful siver crystals. Sure is a good thing we didn't know how deadly Hg compounds were back in those days! Otherwise few of use would have survived!! Like wise with the arsenicals- I got big jars of both sodium and potassium arsenate (dermatological and anti-syphilitic). Made me some paris green (copper arsenoacetate) because I have always loved that beautiful shade of green. I also have several kg of bismuth subnitrate. Thinking about trying to reduce some into Bi metal. Or maybe I should oxidize it to the bismuthate and see if I can make permanganate. And many other wonderful things I can't remember since i'm at work away from my chemical pantry. He who stumbles upon an old pharmacy has truly found a mother lode of fascinating and dangerous chemical treasures from the deadly early days of clinical medicine!

[Edited on 30-6-2006 by Elawr]

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halogen
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I though that bismuth was the active ingredient in pepto bismol? Ooh and don't forget bromides, to quell "nervous disorders".

F. de Lalande and M. Prud'homme showed that a mixture of boric oxide and sodium chloride is decomposed in a stream of dry air or oxygen at a red heat with the evolution of chlorine.
Elawr
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iirc, bismuth subsalicylate is active ingredient of Peptobismol. I sure do wish I could find some samples of the radium compounds they once used to treat all sorts of maladies. Apparently radium and other radioisotopes were in very widespread use as OTC cure-alls around the turn of the century. It wasn't until people began showing up with all kinds of horrible radiation-induced diseases that the connection was made.

[Edited on 30-6-2006 by Elawr]

[Edited on 30-6-2006 by Elawr]

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markgollum
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I went to a small museum of pharmacology a while back and some of the ingredients in the "tonics" were shocking.
IIRC Pale women were given a solution containing strychnine, hypophosphate and arsenate salts.

But what surprised me the most, was what women with vaginal rashes, smell, etc were given.
Small, cone shaped, pieces of picric acid (like the solid suppositories) were inserted "you know where" and left to dissolve. Best of all, they came in boxes of approx 150g.
Just think about the yellow stains everything would get!.

I can just imagine myself approaching the sales counter of a small store, in a small town with two boxes of these things.

"And what do you need these for, mister?".
Quantum
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I dont even want to know what terrible things might happen if at the same time period there was some sort of primary explosive or metal based cream for the man and the woman forgot to remove this pitric acid thing.

What if, what is isn\'t true?
halogen
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Would anyone like some water from my revigorator?

F. de Lalande and M. Prud'homme showed that a mixture of boric oxide and sodium chloride is decomposed in a stream of dry air or oxygen at a red heat with the evolution of chlorine.
Vitus_Verdegast
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I only wish I was able to make a good coca-cola-kina wine like they used to in the olde days. Now *that* must be quite a revigorator! Approved by no less than queen Victoria herself.

alas one particular ingredient is absolutely unaccessible

I'd still try it I suppose. I'm all for antiquated medicine

[Edited on 3-7-2006 by Vitus_Verdegast]

Sic transit gloria mundi
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Potassium Chlorate I believe was used as a throat soother(sp?).
unionised
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It was (or it may have been perchlorate but that's rather thyrotoxic).
A colleague who once worked in the nuclear industry told me a story.
Every week the staff would provide urine samples to check for contamination. The lab would then dry down aliquots of the urine under a heat lamp, ash them and measure the alpha activity of the ash to see if anyone was getting contaminated with Pu, U etc.

(Per)chlorate is excreted unchanged by the kidneys.
There are a number of reducing agents in urine.
The samples turned green, then exploded while being dried. It took them a while to work out what had happened.
Can you imagine being the poor lab technician who had to go to the boss and say "Mr smith's urine sample exploded before we could count it".
methyl_ethyl
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I have a physicians handbook from the 1950's that discusses the use of Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) as a topical treatment for headlice.

regards,

m_e

[Muudetud: 5-7-06 methyl_ethyl]

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Organikum
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 Quote: Originally posted by methyl_ethyl I have a physicians handbook from the 1950's that discusses the use of Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) as a topical treatment for headlice. regards, m_e [Muudetud: 5-7-06 methyl_ethyl]
Why not? Thats a perfect use for DDT and pretty safe too provided you don´t have lice every other week.
The abundant use of DDT in agriculture was the problem and the thinning of the egg shells of birds caused by this. For fighting malaria (mosquitos) DDT is still the means of choice.

And still nowadays shampoos for killing crab lice contain LINDAN - now there I would prefer DDT so any possible....

/ORG

Restrict alcohol and Tobacco.
Legalize everything else.
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Twospoons
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Up until 20 years ago, one of the local pharmacists in Auckland (New Zealand) was still making cough medicine in his shop. It contained Laudanum, and was apparently very, very good !

The wife thinks I\'m with the mistress, the mistress thinks I\'m with the wife - so I can go to my workshop and get a few things done!
nitro-genes
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Speaking of common household drugs,

DMX, or Dextromethorphan containing coughing syrups are inmensly polpular here at the moment. I think most of you know this already, it's even been on the news here. The experience from DMX is said to be totally out of this world for larger doses, and doesn't even compare to the ones from magic mushrooms. Alhough DMX is much more likely to result in a bad trip.... Not for the faint-hearted!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-medical_use_of_dextromethor...

http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/dxm/dxm.shtml

[Edited on 6-7-2006 by nitro-genes]
methyl_ethyl
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Quote:
Originally posted by Organikum
 Quote: Why not? Thats a perfect use for DDT and pretty safe too provided you don´t have lice every other week. The abundant use of DDT in agriculture was the problem and the thinning of the egg shells of birds caused by this. For fighting malaria (mosquitos) DDT is still the means of choice. And still nowadays shampoos for killing crab lice contain LINDAN - now there I would prefer DDT so any possible.... /ORG

Effective yes,

Safe, I am not so sure....

Safer than Lindan, most definitely IMHO......

as you mentioned, as long as you don't have lice every other week you are probably ok.

I would suspect chronic exposure to most any chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticide comes with it's laundry list of problems.

As far as mosquito / malaria control is concerned, Bacillus thuringiensis is becoming widely used as a "green" larvacide, with exceptional results.

Back on the topic of antiquated household drugs.

I remember when one could purchase solutions of 1,4 butanediol, and GBL, over the counter for human consumption. Those days are no longer, however I still kept the bottles they came in, knowing they would be a "collectors" item at some point in the near future...

On a positive note the FDA approval of sodium oxybate (xyrem) was a swift kick in the ass for the anti-GHB movement.

regards,

m_e

Unipolar Mania.... it\'s good for life
Magpie
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Do you remember Bromo-Seltzer? I guess it is still sold for headaches and upset stomach. Contains acetominophen, citric acid, and sodium bicarbonate.

It's been around a long time and I thought that perhaps it originally was made from a bromide but can find no reference for this.

See picture:

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
Magpie
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About 6 pages into Google I finally found the answer I was looking for in reference to the original Bromo-Seltzer formula, i.e,:

"However, many patients admitted to psychiatric institutions were found to suffer from bromism from overuse of these products, rather than from the psychiatric illnesses for which they had been incorrectly diagnosed, and the use of these products thereafter decreased until they were withdrawn from the market in 1975. Widely cited culprits included the sedative Nervine, produced by Miles Laboratory, which contained all three bromide salts; and Bromo-Seltzer, which contained 3.2 milliequivalents per teaspoon (mEq/tsp) of sodium bromide (Horowitz, 1997)."

Another report said that Emerson, the chemist who invented Bromo-Seltzer, and got rich selling it, was chairman of "American Bromine Co," "Citra Co," etc. It looks like he had control of the raw materials also.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
YT2095
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I have a small tin of Boracic Ointment (Circa 1930) that came in an old 1924 First Aid kit, theres still well over half left and it Looks quite usable still, although I dont think I try finding out.

\"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom\" - Death
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futurenobellaureate
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Vanilla extract- my great grandfather ran a pharmacy and used it as one of his tonics.

Sciguy
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I live near an independent pharmacy where the owner has on display his collection of old chemicals and concoctions in their orignal bottles. These were used in the old days when pharmacists still compounded their remedies. Yesterday I asked a pharmacist if I could take a look at them of which there were possibly 200 or so. She said go ahead. There were bottles labeled "lead nitrate," "Poison Oak," and one with 3 ingredients, one of which was "Strychnine." I asked her about the Poison Oak, saying "in what case would you want to apply this to the human body?" She just smiled, being just as puzzled as I was I think.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
triphenylphosphineoxide
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Couple of Points
-DDT is quite safe as a powder, dissolved in fuel oil which is the old agricultural practice is another matter. Not to sure of the Napthalene flakes "Now With added DDT" That I found at my Grandfathers though.
-Japanese Laquer Oak is a close relative of Poison Oak I have heard of this being used essentially to tan warts. When the warts are all dried and shrivelled they can be excised much easier.
-Also a Grandfathers I found a bottle labled Phenyle body cleanser, it appears to be a weak solution of pyroligneous acid with added cresol, some of the label is gone so I don't know how strong, but WTF.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Special topics » Biochemistry » Obscure antiquated or household drugs Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Detritus